With the FA hinting at the possible introduction of goal-line technology to the Premier League as early as next season, MouthLondon debates the pros and cons of such a significant move.
Kenny Dalglish MBE and Owen Coyle were the most recent high-profile figures within the football industry to add their voices to an extensive list of those who favour goal-line technology. Is it the right way forward? And will it benefit the sport? It depends on who you ask. There are, generally, two camps be it in your local pub or in the Sky Sports studio: those who support technological advancement and those who argue for retaining the human element to football.
…debate is somewhat straightforward…
For those who reverberate a resounding yes, the debate is somewhat straightforward- goal-line technology will provide justice. When Frank Lampard scored… yet didn’t score at the 2010 World Cup, the laws of physics were defied as a goal, through some sort of external influence, was no longer a goal. Goal-line technology would put this into place. Officiating standards would be improved, yet referees’ jobs made easier at the same time. Lampard isn’t the only aggrieved name that comes to mind; if goal-line technology were in place, Freddy Sears, David Healy, Mark Hughes and Pedro Mendes – to name a few – would all be spared the agonising feeling of achieving something that was noticed by everyone but the one man that matters.
The success of Hawk-Eye in Tennis would further strengthen the case for goal-line technology. However, this is an example of technology but not necessarily goal-line. As Paul Wilson argues in The Guardian, monitor referral may be a more sophisticated alternative. Cricket, rugby, and tennis have all successfully implemented monitor referral, and the scope of such technology would not just be to decide goal or no goal. Indeed, Morten Gamst Pedersen’s recent illegally taken corner and Chelsea’s series of denied stone-wall penalties in that Champions League Semi-Final against Barcelona (which Didier Drogba will never forget) would be resolved through monitor referral.
…can only improve the state of football.
Thus, it would seem that goal-line technology, or at the very least, some sort of technology can only improve the state of football. Blatant refereeing errors that workers in other professions may almost certainly be dismissed for could be fixed within 30 seconds. Yet, as ever in life, there is a counter-argument.
Initially, one must consider the costs of introducing technology of any sort. An individual unit that can provide the service of surveying the goal-line will set a buying party back £100,000. Imagine the total expenditure of a market if this much were to be spent on every professional stadium in the country. What if similar policies were adopted in other countries? At £100,000 retail price, Duncan Bannatyne or Theo Paphitis in the Dragons’ Den would almost certainly be out.
…machinery would robotize and automate the game.
Venturing beyond the heavy financial burden of installation in a climate of low economic growth and national spending, there are further reasons against goal-line technology. The traditionalist argument is that machinery would robotize and automate the game. No longer could a fan excitedly ask the morning after a game did you see that offside decision? and no longer would a referee be using his human capital to its full extent. Arguably, introducing goal-line technology, in this sense, would dramatically reduce the dynamism and appeal of the modern game.
So there we have it: the two sides of the coin, the polar opposites. Being subjective, there is no right answer; there is only the balancing of both arguments and the eventual decision that will be made. All eyes on Fifa.
Image courtesy of Bill Hilton and Morten Gamst Pedersen